Add editorial notes in InDesign

The Notes feature in InDesign uses the workflow user names to identify the author of a note or a tracked change. Notes and tracked changes are color-coded for each user as defined in Notes preferences in InDesign or the User dialog box in InCopy (File > User).

Notes can appear only in text. In InDesign, they can be printed only from the Story Editor, and they cannot be exported to PDF.

Add editorial notes

When you add editorial notes to managed content in InDesign, these notes become available to others in the workflow. The notes are primarily intended to be used with an InCopy workflow, but you can take advantage of them in InDesign. For example, you can place text in notes that you might want to put into a story later. In InCopy, when you export to Adobe PDF, notes can be converted to PDF comments.

  1. Using the Type tool, click where you want to place the note, and choose Type > Notes > New Note.

    When editing in Story Editor, bookends appear. In Layout view, the Notes panel appears.

  2. Type your note between the note bookends, or type your note in the Notes panel.

You can add as many notes as you want in any location. However, you cannot create a note within another note.

To show or hide notes, choose View > Extras > Show Notes or Hide Notes.

Use Notes mode

Notes Mode is a convenient way to add, split, or delete notes, depending on where the insertion point is located or what text is selected.

  1. Do any of the following:

    • To create a new note, place the insertion point in text.

    • To convert text to a note, select the text.

    • To split a note, place the insertion point inside a note.

    • To convert the note to text, select the note bookends (in Story Editor).

    • To move the insertion point out of a note, place the insertion point at the beginning or end of the note.

  2. Choose Type > Notes > Notes Mode.

Manage notes

A note anchor  marks the location of a note. The Notes panel displays the contents of the note, along with specific information about the note.

  • To convert text to a note, select text and choose Type > Notes > Convert To Note. A new note is created. The selected text is removed from the body of the story and pasted into the new note. The note anchor or bookend is located where the text you selected was cut.

  • To convert a note to text, select the text in the Notes panel that you want to add to the text of the document. Or, in Story Editor, select the text in the inline note. Then choose Type > Notes > Convert To Text.

  • To split a note, place the insertion point in the note where you want it to be split and choose Type > Notes > Split Note.

  • To navigate among notes, click the insertion point in the story and choose Type > Notes > Previous Note or Notes > Next Note.

Edit Notes preferences

Preferences settings let you set the color for note anchors, bookends, and backgrounds when inline in the Story Editor. You can also choose to display note info as a tool tip, as well as choose whether to include note content in Find/Change operations and spell checking in the Story Editor.

  1. Choose Edit > Preferences > Notes (Windows) or InDesign > Preferences > Notes (Mac OS).

  2. Select a color for note anchors and note bookends from the Note Color menu. Select [User Color] to use the color specified in the User dialog box. This is especially useful if more than one person is working on the file.

  3. Select Show Note Tool Tips to display note information and some or all of the note content as a tool tip when the mouse pointer hovers over a note anchor in Layout view or a note bookend in Story Editor.

  4. Specify whether you want to include inline note content when using the Find/Change and Spell Check commands (in Story Editor only).


    In Layout view, you cannot use the Find/Change and Spell Check commands to search for the contents of notes, regardless of the settings in the Preferences dialog box. However, Change All does edit the contents of notes.

  5. Select either [None] or [Note Color] (the color you chose in step 2) to use for the background color of an inline note.

  6. Click OK.